Expatica news

Belgian forensic expertsbegin work in Thailand

4 January 2005

BRUSSELS – Belgian forensic experts recently arrived in Thailand have begun the grim task of identifying bodies of victims of the tsunamis that devastated the country’s coastal regions late last month.

The 22 Belgian experts are part of a 300-strong international group of specialists known as the Disaster Victim Investigation (DVI) team.

Experts have also been drafted in from 18 other countries including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Australia

They have been tasked with trying to identify over 3,000 bodies of people killed during the tsunamis.

The DVI has already been able to identify around 40 corpses, the Belga news agency reported on Tuesday.

Belgian police spokeswoman Els Cleemput said the work was progressing well despite tough conditions brought about by, “the heat, the horrible smell of death and the lack of any wind.”

Cleemput also praised the “very good” co-ordinating role being played by the Thai authorities.

The DVI is based in Phuket in southern Thailand and was on Tuesday working in the disaster struck Khao Lak region.

On Tuesday, 376 Belgian citizens remained unaccounted for in Asia with the Belgian foreign ministry expressing particular concern for 73 people known to have been staying in tsunami-hit regions.

So far six Belgians are known to have died in the catastrophe.

The Belgian government said on Tuesday that it would organise an ecumenical church service in Brussels in remembrance of the country’s tsunami victims.

The service will take place at 11.00 am the Saints Michel and Gudule Cathedral.

Three minutes of silence in remembrance of all the tsunami victims will also be held at Brussels’ Rond Point Schuman in the European quarter.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news